When to ask for help?


When to ask for help?help


It can be hard to know what is ‘typical’ for children and what is ‘expected’ and ‘unexpected’. How are parents meant to know when something isn’t ‘normal’?

Of course there is no hard and fast rule though there are some tips that might help.

There are so many opinions and variations of ‘normal’ and ‘typical’ it’s important to think about the impact that something is/isn’t having for your family. If something is a problem or having an impact – it might be a good idea to consider asking for help. If it isn’t and things are working for your family – then rock on! What works for one family might not work for another, just as all children are wonderful and different so is each family.


  • Have regular contact with your GP or community nurse. They are often the first professionals families access and they have a good idea of what is ‘typical’ for children. Also if they know your child well they will also know what is ‘typical’ and ‘expected’ for your child.
  • Talk to other parents and ask if they are/ are not having trouble with the areas you are. For example, lots of kids go through “terrible/terrific twos’ and might not want to do things.
  • Talk to your child’s teacher or child care staff, as they are a great source of information and they are able to see your child in the context of their peers.
  • If you are worried it is better to ask for help. You know your child best. Health professionals can offer various screening tools and observations to either reassure you or help to investigate your concerns further.


If you are worried, it is important to follow some of those tips above or contact your health care professional. If they reassure you, great and if not they can point you in the right direction or help you to unpack what is happening/ not happening further.

Parents know their children best. If you are concerned it is important that you talk to someone, as you know what is ‘typical’ for your child. I often do a ‘gut check’ and if I feel that I need help/ second opinion/ reassurance, I book the GP.


Who can help?

GPs, teachers, child care staff, other parents, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Psychologists, Community Nurses.


If you are worried, ask the network around you. See if they are noticing the same things you are.


Take a look at the Raising Children’s Network as they have great information about what is ‘expected’ at each age. You can also look at our Behaviour page for further information.

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Tara is a Paediatric Occupational Therapist, currently based in North Queensland. She has extensive experience working with children who have individual, additional and complex needs. She has a detailed understanding of early intervention, trauma, trans-disciplinary working, autism, sensory processing, as well as the importance of meaningful occupation.

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